5 ISSUES FOR £5 Subscribe to our Airgun titles today click here

Q&A: pellet preparation

15:34 20 November 2015

Lubricating pellets can help to improve accuracy

Lubricating pellets can help to improve accuracy

Archant

A reader asks Airgun Guru a question about pellet preparation from the October issue

Lubricant can help prevent pellets oxidisingLubricant can help prevent pellets oxidising

Q: I’m fairly new to HFT (and loving it), and have received conflicting advice from a couple of club members on the subject of pellet preparation. One of the members tells me that he inspects and weighs individual pellets, sorts them into batches with a 0.2 grain tolerance, then washes them in hot soapy water, before lubricating them, but his mate uses them straight from the tin.

I’ve been watching their scores in recent weeks, and they’re normally within a point or two of each other, which makes me wonder whether the one who goes to so much trouble with his pellets is wasting his time. What does GURU think?

GURU SAYS: The pads of our fingertips are very sensitive, and we can usually tell by feel alone if a pellet is misshapen, although it’s worth getting into the habit of giving each pellet a quick visual inspection before loading it.

Good-quality pellets usually weigh within 4% to 5% of the average, and a few tenths of a grain won’t generally make a huge difference in trajectory, so if you want to weigh pellets, perhaps just weeding out the few very lightest and heaviest will suffice.

It seems that people wash pellets because they find tiny fragments of lead at the bottom of empty tins, but whether washing is necessary is debatable, because gravity separates the pellets from any swarf in the tin, so it doesn’t really need washing out.

Lubricating pellets helps keep the barrel clean, and prevent a build-up of lead in the grooves, which can otherwise reduce accuracy. I read some test results on the effect on accuracy from pellet lubrication a few years ago, and the conclusion was that not only did it help accuracy and slightly increase pellet ballistic coefficient, but also that not every pellet needed to be lubricated, just every third or fourth, because each lubricated pellet leaves traces of lubricant in the barrel. That means you don’t need to lubricate the entire side surface of each pellet to get the full effect.

It’s possible that the main advantage of pellet preparation is actually psychological, and boosts the user’s confidence, which is the single greatest aid to accuracy. By the same token, of course, the person who is utterly convinced that pellet preparation is unnecessary is equally confident in shooting unsorted pellets! Perhaps that’s why your two club members, with such very different approaches to pellet preparation, achieve such very similar scores.

GET IN TOUCH

Post your letters to: Letters, Air Gunner, 2-6 Easthampstead Road, Wokingham, RG40 2EG

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Airgun Shooting visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Airgun Shooting staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Airgun Shooting account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Expert Advice

Friday, February 10, 2017

A reader is noticing that the pellet strike is changing depending on the distance, but isn’t sure what is happening

Read more
Thursday, February 2, 2017

Gary continues his series on pellets, with some fascinating experiments

Read more
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Back on his Dorset permission, Russel Webb is out and about with his BSA Scorpion/Hawke Airmax combo

Read more
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

If you think mounts are nothing more than a simple lump of metal and you can get away with a cheap one, then you are misunderstanding these vital parts of our sport

Read more
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Charlie Portlock gets comfortable in the field

Read more
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Gary Chillingworth brings us some vital information for accuracy

Read more
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Finding the right pellet is crucial - and there are short cuts, as Jim explains

Read more
Monday, January 23, 2017

Mick Garvey puts the ‘cat among the pheasants’ to help out a keeper friend

Read more
Friday, January 20, 2017

Tim Finley has a recommendation for all those new to the plinking game

Read more
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Jim Chapman heads to the woods with his new favourite rifle

Read more

Subscribe today

Air Gunner Application Link
Airgun World Application Link

Follow Our Titles

Airgun World
Air Gunner

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most Read


Latest news